The modern workplace is constantly evolving. With it, the way we hire and retain top talent is facing a slew of era-defining changes. Besides, the work environment is under siege by economic changes, technological developments, automation, and globalization. To keep up with these changes, business leaders must rise to the occasion and show a deep understanding of the latest workplace trends.
In this article, we’ll discuss the modern workplace trends to help you understand the initiatives that are shifting the workplace. We’ll deliver insights that will empower you to redefine your workplace ethos and create a positive, flexible, and collaborative culture tailored to the needs of the modern worker.
When it comes to employee performance and productivity, workplace environment tips the scale. Creating a healthy work environment can be a game-changer in myriad ways. One, it curtails all the costs related to turnover, absenteeism, medical cover, and employee compensation. If not addressed properly, some of these costs can leave your business on its knees. For example, the total cost of employee absenteeism accounts for up to 36% of the base payroll.
Second, a good workplace environment boosts employee happiness, morale, and motivation. Consequently, employees get tuned to their work and perform to the best of their abilities to deliver the desired results. What you should know is that a healthy workplace is extremely decisive to the overall success of your business. In fact, when the workplace environment is conducive, employees become highly engaged and, in return, deliver 21% greater profitability, 17% higher productivity and 10% higher customer ratings.
Source: AON (2018)Designed by
The benefits of building a healthy work environment are as clear as day. However, creating and managing a workplace that all employees will love is a daunting task because of the constantly changing dynamics of work. As a result, you need to remain abreast of the modern workplace trends for positive change to come your way.
Here are some workplace trends you should keep an eye on:
Over the years, we’ve had numerous era-defining demographic shifts. We’ve smoothly transitioned from baby boomers to Gen x to Millennials with minimal fuzz. There is no denying each of these generations has had its unique approaches to the workplace. Besides, the generations showed relatable work habits and attitudes; hence, it was easy for employers to adjust to suit their demands.
Now, there is a new cohort entering the fold.
Gen Z is the newest entrant in the modern workforce, and this generation is approaching things differently. Born between 1997 and early 2010, the oldest member of this group is 23 years old. It’s predicted that by 2020, Gen Z will account for up to 36% of the global workforce.
The main idiosyncrasies of this generation are nothing similar to what we’ve seen in the previous groups. Gen Zs are technology mavens, born and raised entirely in a fastpaced and internet-centric environment. The peculiarities of Gen Zers make them such a difficult group to deal with. For example, since Gen Zs are digital natives, they expect the modern workplace to be teeming with digital collaboration software tools. They also tend to be pragmatic in the way they approach their careers as well as education.
This is only the start, and we expect Gen Z to take over the global workforce in the coming years. Because of this, small businesses need to explore the mindsets and skills that this generation brings to the table. It’s time to adjust common office practices, as well as training, to get the most out of the new generation.
It’s 2019, and already the dominance of traditional office-centric working is under serious threat by remote working. The substantial advancement of multiple facets of workplace technology has given remote work an upper hand. Besides, the rise of new generations is impelling firms to redefine the modalities of work, and the odds are clearly in favor of remote working.
Moreover, the adoption of robust time management, communication software, and employee productivity software tools points to a burgeoning prominence of remote work. There is also a shift in the perception of employees towards remote working. Apparently, modern employees love the newfound freedom and flexibility that comes with remote working.
Besides, working remotely allows both the professional and personal aspects to coexists harmoniously. For example, today’s mothers can tend to their parental duties and handle professional roles in the comfort of their homes. With these benefits in mind, it’s no surprise then that 90% of remote workers plan to work remotely for the rest of their careers.
Spend time with family15%
Ability to travel12%
Work from home9%
Avoid office politics4%
Source: Buffer (State of Remote Work 2018)Designed by
The nature of remote work is rapidly morphing, propelled by the entry of digital nomads and the proliferation of workforce innovations. Remote work will become more prevalent as the global workforce transitions to the new norm. While this trend is still in its novelty phase, its future is mesmerizing to behold. In fact, one study found that 73% of all departments will have remote workers by 2028.
The 9-to-5 work schedule has for long been second nature for the working class. However, with modern employees gravitating towards the ability to work anywhere, anytime, this schedule is facing extinction. Besides, the lives of employees have become busier and the work environment has become global.
These changes, coupled with the disruptive forces of technology, point to a tilting landscape. In fact, today, workers have developed an innate liking for a more flexible work schedule. And there are many reasons to believe the change of work schedule is long overdue. For example, 71% of workers say rigid work schedules impact their personal life negatively.
The liking for palatable work schedules is so deep that some employees say they would rather have a flexible schedule than healthcare coverage. One firm in New Zealand sought to examine the suitability of a 4-day workweek. After two months of trial, the company found that with such a schedule employee work-life balanced increased by 24%, engagement rose by 20%, and stress levels dropped by 7%.
The study seemed to have given employees a glimmer of hope. Today, many companies have followed suit, and we see the introduction of flexible work schedules. For example, eBay has introduced the eBay@Home program for customer service representatives. Besides, agencies have risen to the occasion too. The UK labor union is advocating for a 4-day workweek. On the other hand, the Japanese government is giving employees Monday morning offs via the “Shining Monday” initiative.
Business communication has come a long way. Just a few decades ago, it was hard to envisage life without email and phones, but that’s not the case today. Technology has given birth to many innovations that have revolutionized business communication. Instant messaging, chat apps, and social media have swooped in, making communication fast and efficient. Besides, the market has a plethora of reliable video conference software for remote teams.
However, all is not well. There is no denying technology has driven business communication in the right direction with budding innovations. But let’s face it: while we all celebrate the innovations, apparently, each comes with a set of potential challenges. For example, instant messaging boost efficiency by 22%, but it also puts employees under immense pressure to answer messages constantly. In fact, business communication software tools evolve in response to solve challenges caused by prior innovations.
Besides, the proliferation of business communication software tools has brought about communication overload. Our inboxes are overflowing with numerous threads of unending conversations. This has given rise to the need for more streamlined and centralized communication tools. Businesses are in search of solutions that consolidate vital communication and tie conversations around the ultimate organization goal.
Today, working late nights or long weeks to earn more is never a pre-eminence. The modern employees are now looking for better work-life balance and perks that positively impact their wellbeing. In fact, job seekers of today claim good work-life balance invariably sway their decisions when evaluating an organization.
Salary and benefits58%
Long-term job security46%
Pleasant work atmosphere45%
Career Progression opportunity35%
Financially healthy employer33%
Flexible working schedules31%
Source: Randstad (2017)Designed by
Factor in the extremely low unemployment rates and you have a volatile arena for businesses. The need to keep employees happy and satisfied has given the work-life balance trend the impetus to thrive. Businesses are in a rush to navigate strategies for flexible work schedules to reel in top talents and boost retention rates. Other things that are shaping this trend include remote work, compressed workweeks, onsite amenities.
Over the last decade, mental health issues, burnouts, and stressed workers have become widespread. These problems crept in our workplaces because employees were so dedicated to working that they cared less about their wellbeing. However, recently, employee wellbeing has become a priority for both the employee and the employer.
More and more companies have put in place workplace wellness strategies to enhance employees’ health and wellbeing. For example, today, you’d not be surprised to find modern workplaces with onsite fitness centers, cafeterias, childcare, and medical care.
However, in line with improving employee wellbeing, a new feature is outranking all the onsite amenities. According to one study, North American employees now prefer offices with views of the outdoors and natural light. The study found that natural lights and views boost employee happiness and well-being by 78%. Better still, they improve work satisfaction (73%), employee performance (70%), and commitment (54%).
Source: Workplace TrendsDesigned by
A lot has to be done to improve employee wellbeing at their workplaces. For example, to address the loneliness of remote workers, businesses are investing in teambuilding events. Additionally, there is a notable uptick in the number of businesses offering training around areas like mental health and resilience. Top HR software are also integrating some of these to their newest features, such as the ability to track these events and include them in payroll.
As the competition for top talent hots up, we predict that employee wellbeing will make a huge difference in attracting employees.
Gender equality isn’t a new topic, but it has definitely refused to fade away. For years now, we’ve seen rigorous diversity campaigns geared towards ensuring more women hold top leadership positions. We are not there yet, but with companies and countries getting involved, change is on the horizon.
Allowing women to run businesses is not only morally upright but also beneficial. In fact, according to one study, with women at the helm businesses increase profit by up to 15%. Increased profitability is just the tip of the iceberg. Letting women hold top positions brings a host of other benefits. Because of this, companies are all out to explore these benefits and the gender gap is closing by day.
The gender equality trend is gathering steam, and we anticipate companies will continue to assign women executive posts in the coming years. States are getting involved too. For example, California has created a rule that advocates for increased women representation on public company boards. 
A lot of things are happening in the business world. The entry of younger workers, everchanging social-political climate, and increasing job-hopping rates, to name a few. With the landscape becoming increasingly turbulent, companies are finding it hard to attract top talent. This because employees are no longer hunting for companies with just a pretty image.
Today, job candidates want companies that show a true desire to uphold values and prioritize social responsibility. Companies that put corporate social responsibility into action stand out in the highly competitive arena. It’s no surprise then that many companies are creating social purposes via community service and partnering with like-minded organizations. Besides, we see companies incorporate philanthropic purposes in their overall mission.
In the modern era, titles like self-employed and freelancers are becoming widespread thanks to changing working practices. Employees are ditching the 9-to-5 employment for more flexible working schedules, and the gig economy on a meteoric rise. In fact, the share of US employees in the gig economy increased from 10.1% (2010) to 15.8% (2015). 
Generally, the gig economy comprises three main components: the consumer looking for services, the gig worker, and the platform connecting the consumer to the worker. The gig economy arrangement is offering the benefits that the modern workforce craves. It allows them to set their work schedule, work while they travel, and have the freedom to choose the company they want.
The advances in technology have given rise to multiple online talent markets for freelance workers. As a result, gig workers now have unparalleled flexibility to decide their hours and location, often without compromising financial security. Consequently, there has been an influx of both consumers and workers into the gig economy. The growth of the gig economy is not letting up any soon; the global online marketplaces could be worth £43 billion by 2020. 
What does the growth of the gig economy mean to businesses? The gig economy provides access to a wide range of expertise through flexible and convenient platforms. This results in significant cost savings for SMBs that often don’t have the financial muscle to attract top talent.
Everything about the global workforce is changing. Employees have become mobile more than ever before, employment is high, and the number of open jobs is skyrocketing. Combined, these factors have made it difficult for businesses to retain the best talent. As a result, more and more companies are hatching innovative hiring and retention strategies.
Upskilling and training have emerged as top of the agenda for business. This comes after the realization that the desire to learn and upskill impels today’s employees to stick by or leave their current role. There is no doubt training and upskilling nurture top talent and help maintain high-performance teams. In addition, training spurs personal development and plays a fundamental role in retaining top talent.
When robots first made their way to the workplace, there was displeasure amongst employees. The global workforce presumed that this innovative idea was hatched to take up their jobs, but that has not been the case. Instead, the evolution of AI and machine learning has enabled employees to coexist with robots harmoniously.
Today, robots can be automated to handle mundane tasks in and out of the modern workplace. This frees up precious time for employees, allowing them to focus on emotional jobs and be more productive. Employees are getting incrementally used to the presence of robots in their workplaces, either knowingly or unknowingly.
If you think robots are going away any soon, think again. According to Tractica, the use of virtual digital assistants will become a familiar sight in the workplace. In fact, nearly 1 billion users will rely on AI-powered virtual assistants for by 2025.
There are conflicting reports about the net effect of these technologies on the labor market. However, there is a consensus that AI and machine learning bridge skills gap, facilitate faster decisions, improve operational efficiency, and reduce costs. Companies have realized that AI and machine learning deliver greater benefits than drawbacks. As a result, companies are increasingly adding AI, and the speed of this trend is not letting up any soon.
While it’s easy to project the future of the workplace, no one has the crystal ball to pinpoint what lies ahead. With digital transformation on high gear, one thing is certain: change will remain constant. In fact, we’ve seen job roles transform into something completely different while others disappeared completely. However, the focus has been on hard skills, but that is now changing and fast.
With technology taking center stage in workplace transformation, we predict the focus will shift to soft skills. Soft skills like analytical skills, written and verbal communication, and leadership, are important for both employees and employers.
These skills are difficult to quantify, but they play a critical role in employee performance and productivity. Soft skills are key to gaining visibility, building relationships, and creating opportunities for advancement. Simply put, soft skills help facilitate human connection which is needed for high-performance teams. And this is the reason the soft skill trend is gathering pace.
Each year businesses face new ideas and trends that disrupt the way they operate and conduct activities. Nearly, every aspect of businesses is prone to some changes, and the workplace is no exception. This is the reason why we highlighted the key workplace trends to help you stay on top of what employees value and even societal changes.
The nature of work is constantly changing, multiple generations are collaborating in the modern workforce, and the software we use is evolving by the day. Employee perception about the perfect employer is shifting, and employers are proactively prioritizing upskilling and training.
All these trends lean towards the evolving employee landscape and embrace the fine lines between employee’s personal and professional lives. Whether you are getting started in business or are a long-time business owner, you need to watch how these trends will evolve in the coming years.
The onus is on both the employee and the employer. Employees should be self educators and advocates to meet rapidly changing work demands. On the other hand, as an employer, you should continuously expand your skillsets and remain open-minded to new employees’ demands and experiences. Besides, you should implement the best solutions like employee monitoring software to remain competitive in 2019 and beyond.
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